Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Morning Stroll Through Kalvarijų Market, Vilnius

This market was just a 5 minute walk from my hotel...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vilnius Revisited

So I'm back in Vilnius. The weather yesterday was what we would call "April weather" in Austria: absolutely torrential rain that drenches you no matter if you're carrying an umbrella or not for 10 minutes, then sunshine as if somebody had turned off a faucet and on the lightswitch. Crazy. I discovered a "nice flower arrangement" on the banks of the river Neris: on one side the red flowers spell out "I love you" and on the other, "I love you too". Apparently, this is an annual feature:
As all cities, everything is much nicer in the sunshine. Here's a picture of a sculpture opposite my hotel:
Conveniently (or: dangerously?) the venue for the trainings I'm giving this time is on the topmost floor of the highest building in the Baltics (or so I've been told) that is part of a - yes, you guessed it - shopping mall...
The mall is surrounded by smaller towers which were offset by skies in a the-end-of-the-world-is-near colour-scheme yesterday: 
The view from said highest buidling of the Baltics is pretty nice. One side shows you the old town and the "pretty view" and somebody told me that the Mayor's office conveniently faces that way. If you look the other way, the impression is quite different. Very rural and also quite rundown. Here is the Mayor's point of view for you:
After the tech-check yesterday afternoon I up in the shopping mall part of the building. I walked out with some small tidbits, including this set of three "fruity" rings for about €2: 
For lack of company and because of the volatile weather on my first night, dinner consisted of snacking in my hotel room and I stocked up on interesting-looking things in a supermarket. I got raspberry-flavoured green tea (very nice, will import another packet), salty caramelised banana chips (yum!) and ketchup flavoured "long potato chips" that I purchased merely for their novelty favor. Despite their impressive lenght (which reminds me of the popular Duplo ad and its associated claim, die vielleicht längste Praline der Welt, possibly the longest chocolate/praline in the world) they disappointed, or rather I did not like this ketchup flavour better than any other artifical ketchup flavours and the chips were full of MNGs and other nasty stuff:
Viso gero!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Give and Take

When you're reading this, I (hopefully) will be on my way to or in Vilnius. After several weeks of being "stationary" I will be on the road again a lot starting this week.

This weekend has been rather quiet (I'm writing this on Sunday afternoon, the highlight of which is going to be a visit to the cinema later tonight) and homey. On Friday night, the book club convened in very reduced formation chez moi and all 3 courses were something I had never tried before. Dessert - see pointless picture below (which contradicts what I just said: as I have of course made puffy-pastry and fruit salad before) - also consisted of a pretty amazing lemon, lime and peppermint sorbet, which was incredibly refreshing and the perfect dessert on a hot summer night:
As on most Saturday mornings, I really felt like baking and remembered this recipe for Cheesecake Brownies, which was not only super-easy to make, but turned out really well. Here's a picture of it, pre-oven:
...and here of the sliced finished brownies:
Mademoiselle was my guinea-pig and she claimed to like it. She came to my place for coffee and cake on Saturday afternoon and arrived laden down with gifts both from herself and the Australian, with whom she had recently travelled to Copenhagen. Just look at the pretty still life of souvenirs:
Some of the things are from Australia, others from Denmark. Have I mentioned before that I love my friends?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Like a Baby's Bum

As I have mentioned several times, I am an avid hopelessly addicted watcher of beauty-related videos on YouTube and follower of beauty and shopping blogs. So much so, that in its Ads Preferences Manager, the search-engine of my choice infers that I am "female, aged 18-24". Ooops. I love watching videos or reading blog-entries where people (read: women) rave on about their "go-to products". Interestingly, these often seem to change on a monthly basis, but even so, I like finding out about new things. My very own go-to products thanks to which I've been enjoying the smoothest and most radiant skin since my pre-teens - with not even a single hormonal or travel-induced breakout in sight - I found all on my own, but here they are and I wholeheartedly recommend them if you're a similar skin-type like me (normal/combination skin - rather dry in winter).
Here they are. The day-cream is by Natio, an inexpensive (for Australia anyway) I bought in Australia. It is mid-range like L'Oreal with a great line of make-up and skin-care product. The department stores in Sydney always had incredibly good offers where they gave you a cool cosmetics bag filled with full-sized products when you spent a certain amount. Needless to say that I returned with quite a collection of Natio stuff. I did not like the scent of some skincare lines, but this daily moisturizer with SPF 15 (non-sticky!) faintly smells of lavender, which I love. I only have about one third of it left and it makes me feel quite nostalgic just looking at the tube on my bathroom shelf. Aaaah, those sweet Sydney months...

I'm on my third bottle of Clinique's "Repairwear Laser Focus" serum and this is great stuff if you want to get rid of pigmentation caused by exposure to the sun. It's not exactly cheap (around €80, if I remember correctly), but there often are some deals with other Clinique products or you can try to pick it up in duty-free. It's very lightweight and I typically use it under my regular foundation or night cream. In the summer months, I only use it at night.

Now for the night cream, L'Oreal's "Youth Code" - this has the perfect scent and consistency in my book. It smells like the soap or detergent my paternal granny used when I was a kid, so putting it onto my face reminds me of my childhood in the best possible ways. It might not be the most hygenic mode of packaging, but jars are my favourite as it feels very satisfying to just scoop out cream with your hands and you get out every last bit of the product. This cream has an interesting lilac colour and is absorbed really easibly. I've repurchased it as well and predict that this will be my night cream for a long time. It literally makes my skin feel soft as a baby's bum and I took it as a compliment when the Mermaid, who knows that I am very anti-Botox asked me if I had "anything done" to my face recently!

Let me know if you've tried any of these and what you think of them.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

After-Work Cruise

On Tuesday night, or rather, evening, my two favourite blondies (any expats who might read this excluded) and I spontaneously decided to rent a pedalo for an hour and cruise around the Old Danube. It was actually the Mermaid's she is:
We all felt very nostalgic and personally, I think the last time I sat in one of those was at least 25 years ago. Vienna's skyline is pretty impressive too from that part of the city:
Naturally, we also jumped/slid into the water for a little swim in the murky waters and discovered we could actually "walk" the lightweight boat like a dog by dragging it behind us on the flimsy rope used for tying the pedalo to the pier.
Over cocktails later that night, we unanimously agreed that summer 2012 has been one of the best, weather-wise, in a long time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

End of an Era

I'm back in Vienna now, pitying myself that I have to sit in a stuffy office in 30+ (outside) temperatures rather than chill out by/in the lake. Sigh. The rest of my days in KLU were just as nice as the first half and I won't bore you with details of my mundane activities. I did however do the unthinkable: sell Flocki. Yay, I know, I can hardly believe it myself.
 Bye-bye, trusty Flocki!
 I loved your spacious interior...
 and collected all the cards left by your "fans".
Less than 170K km: not bad for a 1995 vintage car, eh?

I traded him in at the car dealer of my choice (for a whopping € 1000, but never mind) and ordered a brand new car, an equally snow-white Toyoto Verso S.  I readily agree that it looks pretty boring, i.e. like most new cars, but it fits the bill with a spacious boot and a "slim silhouette" that will fit into my narrow garage space. Flocki 2.0 will be mine in mid September and I'll officially introduce him to you here, of course.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Busy Bee? Not for Me!

Hi there. I just wanted to let you know that I'm alive and kicking. Mind you, I feel decidedly unalive this morning, having come home at 2:30 a.m. from a lovely night out in Velden with the Gazelle, who took me along as her date for the "dinner&casino" voucher she had got as a gift. It was my first ever attempt at playing a casino game and while playing roulette was fun (we lost our €25 free chips that we each got with her gift card and I didn't risk any "real" money, so we won't be giving up our day jobs yet), I found watching the crowd even more interesting. Mutton dressed as lamb tigress and old farts galore!
Other than gambling, I have swam in both the Wörther and Ossiacher lakes, done a "cruise" on the former with the PP and clan, painted my nails several different colours (all well-documented on Instagram) made a heap of bracelets (likewise) and in general: taken it easy. I unsynched my work e-mail and calendar on my phone as I know I would have to sneak a peek and be stressed out if I didn't. I'm assuming business hasn't collapsed because of that daring move...

I've taken pictures mainly on my phone so far in order to keep up with my Instagram obsession (see sidebar), but I'll share some that I took on my "proper" camera as well. Here's one I took on Monday:
Yawn. The deck-chair beckons...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Off to KLU

image created with Textgram
So. After weeks of PowerPoint overkill, obsessive nailpolish (and other) hauls and wistful looks out of the office window, it is time for me to spend a week in the - hopefully - sunny south of Austria. Heading down to KLU tonight. I don't know if there'll be (m)any posts here next week, but I'll definitely be posting on Instagram (@wastingmytalent), which I'm becoming more and more addicted to.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Possibly the Softest Scarf in the World

So on Tuesday, the Empress and I *accidentally* ended up in the Tommy Hilfiger Store. Despite the fact that I had already scored a gorgeous skirt a few weeks ago, I discovered an irresistible item. Well, actually the Empress discovered it, but thankfully decided to redirect her obsession to a pair of white wedges instead. Phew! It was the last one and as soon as I had touched it, I was sold. Not the cheapest neck candy, despite the -50% tag, but I reasoned that what with 5 weeks of business-travel lined up and lots of quality time of brutally airconditioned planes, this was actually a job-related purchase. You have to agree with me on this one, right?

The scarf is a beautiful denim-like blue shade and can be scrunched up to very little volume. Again, perfect for fitting into your handbag, while on the go.
It might be minimalistic in volume, but it is definitely impressive in size. You could almost use it as a picnic-blanket:
Very pretty and oh-so-soft (75% viscose, 25% cashmere, making it perfect for all seasons). Never mind my "house-dress" in the photo.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Cautionary Tale

In the heat of Monday night, I embarked on a baking adventure. I wanted to convert this genius recipe into single-portion brownie-meets-muffin goodies. So far, so good. I even pimped it by using chocolate with salted caramel chunks. Even better. It was only when I wanted to add some baking powder that I realised I had run out of it. Instead, I added a tablespoon (flat, not heaped) of baking soda, reasing that it would probably do the job. Well, rise they did and my colleagues claimed to like them, despite my disclaimer, some even going for seconds, but to be honest, I hated both the texture (too bubbly and chewy) and the slightly acidic taste. A little research online revealed that the two rising agents are not, in fact, interchangeable and whereas you can replace baking soda by baking powder, you "can't" do the opposite. I agree.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


Today, the Empress graced our humble office with her regal presence. In the past year, she has become Louis Vuitton's best customer and amassed quite an impressive collection. Including a "Neverfull" bag in the same size and print as mine:
Hers is the lighter one and unlike her, I quite like the tanned effect of the leather. We had sushi and gossip in Volksgarten and parked our bags next to each other in the vain hope they'd start profiferating and produce two mini-Neverfulls. A girl can hope, right?

Afterwards, we visited one of our old hunting grounds, Tommy Hilfiger, and bought one item each that we didn't need, but absolutely had to have.

Oh, and in the afternoon I booked a oneway-flight each to London and Paris for some more girly quality-time in mid-October. I've wanted to travel from one of those cities to the other by Eurostar for ages and am really excited to be able to do this for real.

In case you were wondering what the title of this post refers to - this definition doesn't really get across the full connotations of Tussi, but I use it quite often in a self-deprecating way to describe women who love to indulge in shopping-and-cosmetics-based excursions and conversations. I only know them from hearsay, of course.

'Cause Tuesdays Are Dull Enough

Some days just call for colours that almost "hit" you in the eye. Today's one of them and I'm a walking fruity summer cocktail:
It all started with the sandals that I bought way back on the first weekend of May, if I remember correctly. The lime-coloured trousers are on their maiden cruise today. They were only €10 at H&M, where the top is from as well (€7 or something along those lines). Being me, I couldn't resist and even used matching eyeshadow...

Monday, August 06, 2012

It's Not that I've Been Abstaining from Shopping Altogether Lately...

I've rather found another outlet for posting my purchases...
A pair of Pretty Ballerinas (literally) considerably reduced that I picked up on Friday night. I blame the Gazelle, who dragged me into the shop to advise her on a pair she spotted in the window.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Employees of the Month

I don't know if you've ever experienced one of those days yourself, but yesterday was basically a day where every single person in the office kept looking at their watches, telling one another how unmotivated they were and found lots of excuses for a coffee, smoke, chat, depending on their vice of choice. It's not remotely as if we're all chronically bored, quite the contrary. It's more a case of: it's 32° outside, all the school-kids are on a 2-months vacation, so why do I have to sit in a stuffy office and pretend to be interested in the stuff I'm supposed to do anyway?!?

Me, I had committed the mistake of bringing in most of my bracelet-making supplies as I had promised to make some for colleagues and wanted them to choose the colours and materials. I ended up making several at work, such as this one for which I used several remnants. On Instagram, I called it "tutti frutti":
The Empress, who is currently in town, actually dropped by yesterday morning with a generous supply of the most gorgeous cotton bands from the Paris branch of la Droguerie. Dangerous! Mind you, the satisfaction of producing jewellery is unrivalled by any "success" I may achieve in my day-job. Food for thought, that.

My other occupational therapy of choice is stocking up on Essie nailpolish (still 20% off at BIPA). I wanted a summery white shade and opted for "Marshmallow". Not bad:
Needless to say, the bracelets I'm wearing are all from my "workshop".

(All beading supplies safely locked away at home today)

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Have I Mentioned that Vienna is BEAUTIFUL?

Yesterday, the Gazelle and I went to the Volksgarten Pavillion for lunch. After eating at a table in the shade, we strolled around the garden and I was once more struck by the beauty of my old hunting ground. New roses have been planted on one side and I just had to take a picture of the pink, green and white against the bright blue sky. I haven't done any editing at all, mind you:
It's sometimes easy to forget to appreciate just how nice your hometown is, even if it happens to be a lovely city like Vienna. It's great in all four seasons, but I particularly love hot summer days, even if I have to spend them at work, rather than in a pool. A colleague of ours who used to live in Hamburg for years has repeatedly remarked that she hasn't experienced such a glorious summer ever, which once more reminded me that we really are very priviledged.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

New Topic(s)

Overheard at a frozen yoghurt stand in Vienna's MQ on Monday night. Original dialogue in German with the word in italics in English. Elderly lady to her friend who has volunteered to queue. "I want mine plain, without topics." Friend: "What was that again?" "I want just the frozen yoghurt, without topics. That's what they call the stuff they put on top."
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